British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Jan 17, 2021

Current VI constitution is 'disrespectful to the Premier' - Hon Vanterpool - calls for removal of Governor as Chairman of Cabinet comprising of Premier & Ministers

Fourth District Representative in the Virgin Islands House of Assembly , Hon Mark H. Vanterpool has called the current VI Constitution Order 2007 as disrespectful to the highest democratically elected office, that of the Premier, over its stipulation to have a UK appointed Governor to chair the Cabinet.

Hon Vanterpool was at the time speaking during the debates on the Motion for Constitutional Review at the Thirteenth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on July 28, 2020.

No Respect - Hon Vanterpool

'You don't respect the Premier, this constitution, if you going to tell me that the Premier and his Ministers are the Cabinet and this explanatory note behind it says the Governor is the Chairman," Hon Vanterpool said regarding the Governor's position in Cabinet.

"You not no member of the Cabinet, but yet you're telling me that you have to chair the Cabinet?" Hon Vanterpool asked rhetorically of the Governor's seat currently held by H.E. Augustus J.U. Jaspert.

Hon Vanterpool revealed that many past VI Governors would use the steering committee to dictate and say what policies would go on the Cabinet agenda.

"Now what is that? That's respect? The People have elected a Premier and four Ministers to form the Cabinet and the Cabinet must be determined by somebody else?"

Consultations with UK must be had - Hon Vanterpool

"Where is the respect and self-determination in that Mr Speaker?" Hon Vanterpool asked, adding: "We must go and bow down now and ask to change that, we can't decide ourselves, they must agree," Hon Vanterpool further went on to say.

He reiterated that the VI and UK partnership is not a modern one based on mutual respect and self-determination, but rather, an arrangement where the UK dictates to the Territory.


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It always seems impossible until it is done.

Nelson Mandela
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